Ad watchdog throws out protests over Carling birds

Carling%20belongThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected complaints against Coors Brewers’ over a commercial for its Carling lager brand.

The ads feature a flock of starlings flying across the sky, with a backing track including the lyrics “going out tonight”. At the end of the execution, the word “Belong” appeared in the same typeface as the Carling logo.

Members of the public, as well as Alcohol Concern and the Institute of Alcohol Studies, complained the ads suggested drinking could lead to social success and overcome loneliness, and that the ads appealed to under-18s.

Carling said advertising codes permit marketers to show drinking as a sociable activity and warn against the portrayal of regular solitary drinking as acceptable.

The watchdog ruled the ad “did not focus on an outstand-ing individual or the transformation of a social event by an external factor”. It added: “The ad did not imply alcohol contributed to the popularity of an individual or the success of a social event.

In a separate decision, the ASA rejected a complaint against Ryanair over a press ad that said “Buy one flight and get a second absolutely free. Pay no fees, taxes, levies or charges”. The complainant said the ad was misleading as there was a 1p baggage and credit card fee.

Ryanair said the 1p fee was optional, as passengers with hand luggage were not charged and that because Ryanair paid all other non-optional fees, the claim “Free” was not misleading.

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